Posted 29 October 2008 - 08:56 PM
Here is the complete context of the quote (emphasis mine):
I will now speak upon another subject; one which I have touched upon many times, but which, to this day, is but little understood. I allude to the organization of the spirit and the body, the distinction between the two, and their operations. This subject is not well understood, and generally not much reflected upon, but is one which the Saints have got to learn, if they ever learn the real organization of man. Then they will know and understand the peculiarities of our present organization, and how liable mankind are to submit to its weaknesses, and to the influences of the powers that rule over them.
Were you in possession of this knowledge, you would be more compassionate. As severely as I sometimes talk to you, my soul is full of compassion. It has ever been my study to understand myself, for by so doing I can understand my neighbors.
If this people would apply their minds to wisdom, with regard to themselves, they would be more compassionate than they are now.
From what is at times said here, it might be inferred that every one who did not walk to the line was at once going to be destroyed, but who has
been hurt? Who is about to be killed? Who is about to be taken out of the way? When this people have lived long enough upon the earth, to have the principles of life and salvation disseminated among them, and to have their children taught in those principles, so that they fully know the principles of eternal salvation, then let us or our children turn away from the commandments of God, as some do now, and I could tell you what will be done with them.
Brother Wooley has said, the time is not far distant, but it will never come until the inhabitants of the earth, and especially those who have been gathered together, have a sufficient time to be educated in the celestial law, so that each person may understand for himself. Then if they transgress against the light and knowledge they possess, some will be stoned to death, and "judgment will be laid to the line, and righteousness to the plummet." But people will never be taken and sacrificed for their ignorance, when they have had no opportunity to know and understand the truth. Such a proceeding would be contrary to the economy of heaven. But after we receive and understand things as they are, if we then disobey, we may look for the chastening hand of the Almighty.
If we could learn ourselves, we should see thousands and thousands of weaknesses in the people. They turn to the right and to the left, to this and that which is wrong; yet if we did know and see things as they are, we should understand that thousands of those acts are performed in ignorance.
I presume there are people hearing me talk, who would give the riches of the Indies, if they had them in their possession, to be able to obtain the mind and will of God concerning themselves. They would give all they possess on the earth, or expect to possess, were they in possession of keys by which they could know the path to walk in. What are we going to do with this class of persons? I will tell you what I am going to do with them, so far as I am concerned. I am going to give them my faith, confidence, prayers, and full fellowship. And when they get through with this probation, if they have done, all the time, according to the best they knew, God will not hold them responsible for what they did not know, and they will be received, through the merits of the Son, into the kingdom of our Father.
I mention this to inform the people, that they may understand what they should do with regard to the law of God, and the transgression thereof. The law is very strict; and in this congregation there are men and women who, with uplifted hands to heaven, before the Father, the Son, and all the holy angels, made solemn covenants that they never would do thus and so. For example, one obligation is, "I will never have anything to do with any of the daughters of Eve, unless they are given to me of the Lord." Men will call God to witness that they never will transgress this law, and promise to live a virtuous life, so far as intercourse with females is concerned; but what can you see? A year will not pass away before some few of them are guilty of creeping into widows' houses, and into bed with the wives of their brethren, debauching one woman here, and another there. Do we enforce upon them the strict penalty of the law? Not yet. I hope their conduct arises from their ignorance, but let me transgress my covenant, and the case would be different. I want to live as long as I can, on the earth, but I would not like to live to violate my covenants; I would rather go behind the vail before doing so.
A few of the men and women who go into the house of the Lord, and receive their endowments, and in the most sacred manner make covenants before the Almighty, go and violate those covenants. Do I have compassion on them? Yes, I do have mercy on them, for there is something in their organization which they do not understand; and there are but few in this congregation who do understand it.
You say, "That man ought to die for transgressing the law of God." Let me suppose a case. Suppose you found your brother in bed with your wife, and put a javelin through both of them, you would be justified, and they would atone for their sins, and be received into the kingdom of God. I would at once do so in such a case; and under such circumstances, I have no wife whom I love so well that I would not put a javelin through her heart, and I would do it with clean hands. But you who trifle with your covenants, be careful lest in judging you will be judged.
Every man and women has got to have clean hands and a pure heart, to execute judgment, else they had better let the matter alone.
Again, suppose the parties are, not caught in their iniquity, and it passes along unnoticed, shall I have compassion on them? Yes, I will have compassion on them, for transgressions of the nature already named, or for those of any other description. If the Lord so order it that they are not caught in the act of their iniquity, it is pretty good proof that He is willing for them to live; and I say let them live and suffer in the flesh for their sins, for they will have it to do.
There is not a man or woman, who violates the covenants made with their God, that will not be required to pay the debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out, your own blood must atone for it; and the judgments of the Almighty will come, sooner or later, and every man and woman will have to atone for breaking their covenants. To what degree? Will they have to go to hell? They are in hell enough now. I do not wish them in a greater hell, when their consciences condemn them all the time. Let compassion reign in our bosoms. Try to comprehend how weak we are, how we are organized, how the spirit and the flesh are continually at war.
"Are you over Fool's Hill yet?"
Warren Coombs Shawcroft, cowboy